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How far should the 1st Amendment protect domestic drones?

February 14, 2014 9:27 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Does the “right to know” trump privacy rights? Should journalists exercise restraint in coverage of sensitive topics? At what point does a slavish devotion to the 1st Amendment absolve the press of any moral responsibility? These are very old questions, but they’ve become particularly relevant in the age of 24/7 citizen journalism....

Photos of the Day: The Taranis Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle demonstrator

February 14, 2014 8:01 am | by ECN Staff | News | Comments

The BAE Systems Taranis, named after the Celtic god of thunder, is being billed as the most advanced British aircraft ever built. The Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator will be a semi-autonomous stealth vehicle capable of striking intercontinental targets.

3D-printed drones: The future of warfare?

February 13, 2014 9:46 am | by Allegra Sparta, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

It’s like learning about the newest celebrity couple. The only difference is that you won’t read about this development in the tabloids. The United States didn’t really need any more incentive to outdo other countries in military technology, but 3D printing is an attractive avenue to further enhance our growing preference for drone warfare.

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GaN-based transistors take to the sky to capture the action

February 12, 2014 11:25 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

When Ray Breslin and Emil Rottmayer attempted a highly daring escape from a super-high security prison in this fall’s thriller Escape Plan, audiences got up close to see (spoiler alert!) our two heroes — played by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, respectively — engage in a gunfight with the prison’s “crew”....

Is your employer tracking your every move?

February 11, 2014 4:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Your employer probably isn’t tracking your every move just yet, but with new technology from Hitachi, it might not be that far down the road. Obviously there are ways for employers to track your productivity now whether it’s cameras or looking at your internet logs, but it’s really time consuming and not very informative for most employees.

Crony capitalism vs. online gambling

February 11, 2014 2:25 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The 10th amendment is back in style, apparently. Back in 2011, the Justice Department issued a legal opinion on the Federal Wire Act of 1961, essentially reversing its longstanding ban on internet gambling. “Interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a 'sporting event or contest' fall outside the reach of the Wire Act,” it read.

Single poke-home WTB contacts is available in 1.7 mm size

February 11, 2014 10:46 am | Avx Corporation | Product Releases | Comments

AVX (Greenville, SC) expanded its 9296 Single Poke-Home Wire-to-Board (WTB) Contact Series with the addition of a 1.7-mm single-position contact. These contacts enable the simple, reliable, and solderless termination of

Obtaining low power for industrial devices: Energy harvesting, batteries or hybrids?

February 11, 2014 8:03 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

The concept of energy harvesting has been around for as long as windmills and waterwheels were used to harness energy. In the last decade, the possibilities of using low-power harvested energy have greatly expanded in the industrial market as devices became smaller, autonomous and required less power.

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Why has the U.S. surrendered its global lead in engineering?

February 10, 2014 12:08 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

President Obama’s State of the Union address focused heavily on the domestic tech sector, and now we know why — a recent report by the National Science Board (NSB) charted America’s eroding share of the “global scientific landscape,” and its conclusions are troubling. Since 2001, the global R&D performed by Asian countries has overtaken the U.S.

Watch this fish drive his own tank around

February 10, 2014 11:34 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Do you ever feel like your fish is jealous of the cat and dog who can walk freely about the house just because they have the ability to “breathe oxygen”? Have you caught your fish eyeing the parrot and his high flying, free-wheeling ways? Is he jealous of the hamster in the ball who gets to roll around the house?

Net Neutrality is back in our court

February 10, 2014 8:53 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Last month, a federal judge dealt Net Neutrality proponents a devastating blow in Verizon’s challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet Order of 2011 (Verizon v FCC). The FCC’s Open Internet Order essentially forbid Internet service providers (ISPs) from

Average joe rescues Twitter

February 7, 2014 12:06 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Many fear that Twitter is past its “honeymoon phase” of popularity. What’s your biggest issue with Twitter? The layout? The registration process? The character limit? Well, the last isn’t changing. But the rest? You’re in luck: CEO Dick Costolo has plans to address these issues.

Armored coaxial cable assemblies operate up to 20 GHz

February 7, 2014 9:05 am | Product Releases | Comments

Fairview Microwave (Allen, TX) introduces a new line of armored coaxial test cables which are designed to withstand punishing environments such as production line testing and continual in-the-field use. The new armored cables from Fairview can be ordered with SMA or N-Type connectors which are constructed of rugged stainless steel.

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Engineering is for boys. Pink is for girls.

February 7, 2014 8:02 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

We’ve talked about GoldieBlox a few times on the site before both about what a cool toy it is and then again when the company released a video of all the cool things you could do with the kit. I recently stumbled across a Tedx done by the CEO and Creator of GoldieBlox, Debbie Sterling. Sterling, who has engineering degree from Stanford...

Stamped spring pin features cycle life of 125,000 insertions

February 6, 2014 2:42 pm | Ironwood Electronics, Inc. | Product Releases | Comments

Ironwood Electronics (Eagan, MN) recently introduced a new BGA socket addressing high performance requirements for testing BGA devices - SBT-BGA-7019. The contactor is a stamped spring pin with 31 gram actuation force per ball and cycle life of 125,000 insertions.

Crimp pins available in both gold and tin plating options

February 5, 2014 1:56 pm | Mill-Max Mfg. Corp. | Product Releases | Comments

Mill-Max Mfg. Corp. (Oyster Bay, NY) announces the addition of new crimp pins to their selection of wire termination products.  These new pins are commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equivalents to the popular Mil-Spec M39029 crimp pins.

How outsourcing went horribly wrong

February 5, 2014 11:56 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Blogs | Comments

If your own organization hasn’t jumped onto the bandwagon and outsourced most or all of its manufacturing to specialty houses or to lower-cost countries, then you have been reading a great many articles and posts about the trend. There is much debate over the effectiveness of the strategy....

This is what it’s like to fly a fighter jet

February 4, 2014 3:27 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Flying in a fighter jet isn’t an experience most of us will ever have. Personally, I’ve never had the urge, but for some, not being able to soar like Maverick is heartbreaking. Luckily for any wannabe pilots, Metropolis Entertainment — who make footage for simulators for places like this one which will show at London’s Science Museum — are more than willing to share the wealth.

Chemical weapons: Then and now

February 4, 2014 1:47 pm | by Steven Pike, Managing Director of Argon Electronics | Blogs | Comments

Sadly, human history offers all too many examples of how chemical weapons can be used to devastating effect. The employment of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) dates back to at least as far as 1000 BC, when the Chinese used arsenical smokes as weapons.

The F-35 is "a failure waiting to happen"

February 4, 2014 1:19 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s an oldie but goodie. Last year, Four Corners — an Australian current affairs program — did an expose on the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, and their conclusions were ... none-too complimentary. Like their American counterparts, Australia is pursuing a one-size-fits all solution....

How true love opened the smart bra

February 4, 2014 12:38 pm | by Melissa Barnes, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

When Microsoft reported plans for a smart bra equipped with sensors to help keep track of your health and mood, I scoffed at the idea. The concept of smart bras seemed a passing gimmick, and the comments from other critics on my previous blog on the topic seemed to agree.

Digital or handwritten? The note-taking debate

February 3, 2014 3:42 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

I was always that kid in school— the biggest nerd; the one whose notes were color-coded in shorthand only I could read. In college, everyone said taking notes on a laptop was superior. Recently, Princeton University teamed up with UCLA to test this scientifically, and the results are puzzling.

Is the iPod's end in sight?

January 31, 2014 2:48 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

It used to be weird to meet someone who didn’t have an iPod. Now it’s weird to meet someone who does. Is this a sign? Apple’s iconic music player has been on the scene for thirteen years now, and it has seen at least as many makeovers. iPods were extremely popular when first released. Sales climbed steadily for much of their life, but various sources report the iPod’s imminent demise, now more than ever.

Just how bad are America’s infrastructure problems?

January 31, 2014 12:55 pm | by Mike Collins | Blogs | Comments

Ever since the financial industry pushed the economy over the cliff and into the Great Recession, there has been a debate about investing in rebuilding our infrastructure to create new jobs. But just what is infrastructure and how much of it needs to be repaired or replaced?

The symbiotic relationship between editors and public relations

January 31, 2014 10:00 am | by Mark Shapiro, President, SRS Tech PR | Blogs | Comments

This kind of public relations is very different than the typical public relations strategies and campaigns used to promote restaurants, politicians, movies, appliances, or even high-tech consumer products like video games, phones, and apps. How do you promote the kinds of embedded electronic and industrial products and software that are never on sale at Frys or Home Depot?

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